Trump Triumphs in Pennsylvania – The American Spectator

Second Amendment

Call it a Trump Triumph.

There is no special wisdom in noting that my own Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the fifth-largest state in the Union, will be playing a central role in the 2024 presidential race.

Pennsylvania’s 19 electoral votes are significant well beyond being those of a “swing state.”

The historical fact is that those 19 votes are a mere half of the 38 votes the state had a century ago. Why? Because like a lot of blue states, Pennsylvania fell into the trap of tax-and-spend policies that saw chunks of its population simply pack up and leave, moving frequently but, of course, to Florida. And taking their jobs with them.

All of which is to say that there is a reason thousands of enthusiastic Trump supporters filled what is known as the Farm Show arena on Friday night at a rally sponsored by the NRA in downtown Harrisburg. 

The Washington Times headlined the former president’s cheering reception as follows:

Trump heats up Pennsylvania battleground in preview of showdown with Biden

Among other things, the Times reported this of the crowd:

The same negatives that haunt Mr. Biden in national surveys threaten him in the state, and doubts about the 81-year-old president’s mental acuity deepened with special counsel Robert Hur’s report last week that described him as an “elderly man with a poor memory” who wasn’t worth prosecuting for mishandling government secrets.

Mr. Trump seized on that report at the NRA event. He spent much of his speech dismantling Mr. Biden’s presidency and criticizing his diminished memory.

“Joe Biden is the worst and most incompetent and most corrupt president in the history of our country,” Mr. Trump said. “If Crooked Joe gets four more years, his second term will make his first term look like paradise. We’re not going to have a country left anymore. We’re not going to let it happen. We can never, ever let that happen.”

Here’s what should be vividly obvious about this Trump appearance in Harrisburg.

As it happens, I live in the area. Having come up through the ranks of the Pennsylvania political arena, I know my state fairly well. I was an invited guest at this Trump NRA rally, even getting a few minutes with the man himself before he went on stage.

There is no question that he is seriously popular here in this state. And as I saw up close and firsthand, there is no question that, unlike Joe Biden, the former president has his mental capabilities completely intact and ready to roll.

But that there will be an ongoing battle for those 19 Pennsylvania electoral votes for all of the 2024 election there can be no doubt.

It is, as mentioned, seriously obvious that Biden isn’t even close to the intense popularity that was on display for Trump at this rally on Friday night. This means something. Widening the scope out beyond Pennsylvania, there is a serious divide between the American elites who run the media and the massive bureaucracies of the federal government, not to mention other elite entities, including the legal, political, academic, and, as mentioned, media monoliths.

Which is to say that this 2024 election is about the very future of this country. And the Pennsylvanians at this Harrisburg Trump rally know it.

Without question, as the former president made clear, the very future of the Second Amendment is at stake. And his appearance at this NRA event, not to mention his discussion of the anti-gun mania that dominates both the Biden campaign and Biden himself, will be a critical part of carrying the state.

Outsiders may not get it, but a huge swath of Pennsylvania’s population are gun owners and famously pro–Second Amendment. This became politically apparent decades ago, specifically in a 1968 race for the U.S. Senate. The incumbent Democrat Pennsylvania senator was the decidedly liberal Joe Clark, a former mayor of Philadelphia. His run for reelection was opposed by the GOP’s young Rep. Dick Schweiker. Schweiker was standing up to oppose gun control — and, in an upset, he won the Senate seat from the pro–gun control Clark.

In doing so, he sent the shock-wave recognition that being pro–gun control was seriously unpopular with huge swaths of Pennsylvania voters outside of places like the liberal big cities Philadelphia and Pittsburgh — an impression that, in effect, Trump and the thousands at his NRA rally reenforced in spades.

So mark down this last week’s Trump rally with the NRA as a serious political success. The grassroots in Pennsylvania are with Trump.

But take nothing for granted. Without question, the former president himself is not taking Pennsylvania for granted.

To borrow from that famous line from Ahhhnuld: Trump will be back.

And his appearance in Harrisburg this past Friday was, without doubt, a Trump Triumph.

A serious one.

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